I never liked bananas until I tried them with liquor. Now I'm a banana raging alcoholic!
Maybe it's the presentation or it could simply be the alcohol, but Bananas Foster has been a favorite of mine for years. Watching this dessert light up in flames is enough to make anyone interested. Just be careful not to burn the place down in the process!
I chose to pair Bananas Foster with the 2003 Castelnau de Suduiraut Sauternes from Bordeaux, France. Sauternes (SOH-tairn) is made from a blend of 3 white grapes, Semillion, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle. If you're not familiar with Sauternes, it's a deliciously rich and honeyed dessert wine that is affected by noble rot. Rot, you say! I know it sounds bad, but this is a good form of rot known as Botrytis. Botrytis dehydrates and concentrates the grapes, leaving behind the sugar, acids and minerals. It's said to also impart its own flavors, which are characterized as savory. The resulting wine is full of apricots, peaches and honey with a beautiful balance of sugar to acidity.
Sauternes is excellent with fruit based desserts, which is one of the reasons I chose it. I also knew that I needed a wine that could stand up to the weight of the dish. Since Sauternes has a syrupy rich texture, the wine married nicely with the richness of the ice cream and sauce, made up of butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, dark rum and banana liqueur. The honey, vanilla, toast, citrus and dried apricot flavors of this particular bottling also married nicely with the dessert. After a bite of the food and then a sip of the wine, I notice the banana flavor intensifies and the cinnamon really shines through as well. At one point I don't know whether I'm tasting the food or the wine since they seem to have to become one in my mouth. The zesty acidity in the wine cuts through the creaminess of the dish yet allows the flavors to linger on the palate for an incredible amount of time. Freakin' delicious! One thing I'd like to add is to be conservative on how much sauce you pour over your ice cream and bananas. The wine, although sweet, will explode with less competition. Cheers and enjoy!
P.S. Sauternes can age for decades under the right circumstances. Many professionals feel you shouldn't even open the bottle until it has a copper color, signifying that the wine has taken on more complex aromas.
Please leave your comments in the section below! Have you ever tried dessert wine? What was it and did you drink it alone or with food? Let's chat!